Shroud Eater – Face The Master

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If we are all going to burn in hell or be the playthings of the darkest forces then Shroud Eater may have come up with the perfect soundtrack with new two-track EP Face The Master. Like a demonic covenant between sludge, doom, and occult metal, the Florida hailing band’s sound is a web of ravenous melodic intent and riff laden ferocity. As evidenced on the new encounter it is also voraciously predatory, greedily devouring ears on its way to ultimately seducing the senses.

Face The Master follows the band’s acclaimed Dead Ends EP of 2013, an attention grabbing marker for Shroud Eater after the earlier exploits of a self-titled EP debut in 2009 and their well-received first album ThunderNoise two years later. Re-energised with a new line-up since that release, band and Face The Master roar from the first second never relenting until the last, easily showing why Shroud Eater has been compared to the likes of Kylesa, High on Fire, and Acid King but equally instilling another step forward in their own distinct and intensive sound.

SE_FtM_CoverFinal_Print     The EP’s title track opens with a sample from the 1979 TV movie Salem’s Lot, the voice of James Mason instantly luring in attention and imagination before riffs venomously cascade over the senses. The hellacious clutches of rhythms are similarly an inescapable onslaught, the hefty swings of drummer Davin Sosa primal bait and an uncompromising intrusion backed by the almost slavering bestiality of the basslines crafted by Janette Valentine. The riffs and rugged grooves expelled by guitarist Jean Saiz similarly show no mercy whilst both of the ladies vocals unite to savagely entrance body and emotions with hellish revelry. It is a thrilling and compelling mix, a track which is almost flirtatious with its searing melodic endeavour and danger loaded intrigue but as its sound a predator in character and intensity.

Face The Master is enough to wax lyrical about the EP but is swiftly backed by the brooding nature and consumption of House of Endings. If it is possible, the song is slightly lighter than its predecessor in that it has a more inviting swing to its gait, though that is tempered by the sonic bellows and the dark almost malevolent hearted tones of the bass. The guitar of Saiz sculpts a terrain of snarling almost rabid riffs which prowls song and the senses whilst simultaneously casting a spell of acidic and sultry melodic enterprise as intoxicating as it is piercing. The track, as the first, consumes body and thoughts, igniting and exhausting both with sonic invention and intensive energy respectively.

Shroud Eater maybe already drawing references to the metal giants already mentioned but on the evidence of the outstanding Face The Master, they will be standing by their sides very soon.

Face The Master is available from April 7th via Primitive Violence Records & Visual on regular and special-edition cassette, and digitally @ http://shroudeater.bandcamp.com/album/face-the-master

Upcoming Shroud Eater tour dates:

Wednesday April 22 – Savannah, GA @ The Jinx

Thursday April 23 – Raleigh, NC @ The Maywood

Friday April 24 – Philly, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

Saturday April 25 – NYC, NY @ St. Vitus

Sunday April 26 – Washington DC @ TBA

Monday April 27 – Wilmington, NC @ TBA

Tuesday April 28 – Charleston, SC – “Tunnel of Lust” House Show

https://www.facebook.com/shroudeater   http://www.shroudeaterrocks.com/

RingMaster 07/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Dead – Deathsteps to Oblivion

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Unleashing their third album, Australian death metallers The Dead confront the senses with an energy sapping, senses consuming slavering beast and that is just the first track upon Deathsteps to Oblivion. The title perfectly sums up the corrosive and emotionally damaging journey the band drags the listener upon. It is an intensive examination of thoughts and emotions traversing a quintet of excruciatingly heavy and intensive soundscapes soaked in a pestilential fusion of death and sludge metal filtered through the darkest doom laded climate imaginable. It is a sound which belongs to all three styles yet is uneasy settling in any, creating its own domain of raw originality which is familiar but more so innovative. It is a harsh and demanding proposition but also one unafraid to melodically and sonically explore its imagination and providing potent evidence as to why the band is so revered in many quarters.

Formed in 2005 with a line-up which included members of Obfuscate Mass and Misery, the Brisbane band swiftly released a demo followed by the Armoured Assassin single in 2006. Following a second demo the band’s self-titled debut album was unveiled the following year, an encounter making an instant and imposing impression on the underground scene. With the Nocturnal Funeral EP subsequently under their belt, as well as increasing their live reputation with shows over the years alongside bands such as Behemoth, Obituary, Kataklysm, Psycroptic, and Ulcerate, The Dead gripped greater attention with second full-length Ritual Executions. Widely acclaimed through its independent release and a reboot through Diabolical Conquest Webzine which evolved into Transcending Obscurity and release the new ravenous exploit from the band, the album lured the broadest attention and spotlights, yet as Deathsteps to Oblivion infests the psyche you sense it was nothing compared to the response the new encounter has the potential to trigger. The line-up of vocalist Mike Yee, guitarist/bassist Adam Keleher, and drummer Chris Morse consume and immerse the listener with an aural suffocation which is as inhospitable as it is inescapably captivating, an incitement stirring up shadows and intimidations which seduce as they savage the senses.

Opener Maze of Fire immediately confronts and surrounds ears with a web of threatening sinister voices, their demonic roars the lure into a wall of debilitating heavy handed riffs and equally destructive rhythms. Within that trap though there is a melodic coaxing from the guitar which sparks the imagination as still varied and intimidating vocals prowl over thoughts with their intrusive narrative and tones. It is a fascinating entanglement to be lost in, especially with the slip into haunting melodic scenery which is as visually potent as the visceral sounds and vocals which soon share its passage in time threatening. It is a track which inspires different feelings and explorations in the imagination with every listen, something apply to all songs on the album, but a perpetually gripping and challenging persuasion.

The following Disturbing the Dead is just as carnivorous in presence and tone, arguably even more predatory as it crawls with torment laden intent over the senses. Its first half is an unrelenting scourge of doom empowered angst and intensity, a thoroughly appetising violation but from there it without losing funereal despair and malevolence, a sonic and creative enterprise is agitated to lure like a beacon in the thick sludgy tar of the song’s insatiable heart. It is an intriguing and suggestive offering which as its last note lingers in the ear, seems like another world to the one dawning on a rally of gunfire and with destructive and blackened voracity, emerges as The God Beyond. It is the rawest assault imaginable, a caustic sonic haze frequented by hate and fury, but temporary as the battle field returns to provoke a richer and clearer, but no less torturous tempest of sound and exploration. A constant test and provocation, the track is a maelstrom which is uneasy on the ear but wholly seductive upon thoughts and emotions. It is a song which it is hard to get a full handle on in sound and narrative but one inspiring a hunger to find the answers within its cavernous despair.

Terminus swerves in on a rhythmic seduction next, tribal and suggestive beats from Morse transfixing with exotic persuasion whilst bass and guitar flirt with their own sonic teasing. This is again just the doorway into the harshest shadows and challenging depths of the band’s creative rabidity, a serpentine breath accompanying the emerging vocal scarring and ruinous air of the track. Of course it is only part of the picture, melodic intrigue and clean vocal tenacity adding their twists to the sonic mystique and imagination which evolves within the black fog of sound. The track sends shivers down the spine as it seduces and gnaws on the psyche, taking best track award though the closing title track seriously challenges there. It too is a smothering tapestry of threat and invitational suggestion, extremes colluding and toying with each other within a cavern of uncompromising and ravenous aural profanation.

The five years between albums has only seen The Dead find new fears to exploit and nuances to discover in listener and their music respectively. Deathsteps to Oblivion is not for the faint hearted or emotionally sensitive, but to challenge and reward the corners of mind and soul it is maybe the most essential must investigate release of the year.

Deathsteps to Oblivion is available digitally or on limited edition CD now via Transcending Obscurity @ Transcending Obscurity https://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/album/deathsteps-to-oblivion-death-metal-sludge

https://www.facebook.com/lordofthelivingdead

RingMaster 19/11/2014

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The Howling Void – Runa

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There are not many releases which are as mesmeric and meditative as they are oppressively haunting but that definitely is the immersive landscape found upon the Runa EP from US funeral/doom metal project The Howling Void. The three track release is a hungry and intimidating flight across vast expanses of melodic dirge fuelled terrains, an exploration as warm as it is chilling, as seductive as it is menacing. These are extremes which play out simultaneously, enveloping ears and emotions with smouldering flames of invention around cold fingers of intent as the imagination revels in the rich depths and suggestive intrigue of tracks. It is a glorious and deeply rewarding proposition, a bottomless free fall into the creativity of the band with every journey into the EP breeding new textures, thoughts, and emotions.

The Howling Void is the solo project of San Antonio multi-instrumentalist Ryan (Hordes of the Morning Star). Started in 2007, the band has released a quartet of well-received and increasingly acclaimed albums with a funeral doom sound which submerges ears and senses in a dark and cavernous but transfixing realm. Runa was originally released digitally last year but has now been given its physical unveiling with Avantgarde Music, and to make the release even more compelling comes with a third unreleased exploration within its body. It is a riveting encounter which with the extra song is a must for new and old fans alike, and one reinforcing and stretching the already realised enthralling invention and imagination of its creator.

The release swiftly encases ears in a searching blend of expressive keys and raw riffs, opener Irminsûl looming over the senses and thoughts with heavy gait and tone aligned to a vibrant and almost fiery melodic and rhythmic enterprise. It is an enthralling coaxing which only breeds stronger potency as keys spread their similarly toxic and seductive hauntings as vocals float with harmonic expression and celestial mellowness. The EP is themed by “the mythic paradigm of Initiation in the Left Hand Path as represented by Woden/Wotan/Odin’s journey into darkness in search of wisdom” but every soar across the shadowed skies and soundscape of song and release, invites adventures just as unique to the imagination, personal visions and endeavours sparked by the encounter which are as fluid and vivid as the evolving narrative laying out for them.

The scintillating piece of composing and emotional colouring is followed by the just as absorbing Nine Nights. It makes a sterner and muscular entrance than its predecessor, guitars grinding their riffs against the senses with predatory attitude. This too is just a moment in a shifting landscape though, melodies and vocals soon gliding tantalisingly over ears within the caustic and prowling scenery sculpted by rhythms and riffs. The merger of extremes is stunning, beauty and cold almost pestilential breath a gripping and invigorating binding for ears and emotions. Imagine being in a small row boat in the middle of a rapacious stretch of water with no escape in sight as thick oppressive fog creeps ever closer. Listening to song and album feels very much like that and the experience is scintillating physically and emotionally.

The new track upon Runa is The Wolf And The Eclipse and as soon as its hint of a storm is the cue for a spicy melodic stroke of guitar, the track slips easily into the dark erosive climate of the release. There is shamanic lure to the smoulder of vocals and tribal tenacity to the drums which shape a striking gateway into a radiantly bracing and evocatively lit expanse of sinister and melodically graceful mesmerism, which in turn evolves into another intrusively commanding and heavy doom soaked provocation.

The outstanding challenge completes a similarly impressive release. The Howling Void is a project still relatively in the shadows but Runa has all the attributes and majesty to push the project into a broader spotlight. No one should miss out on its second coming.

The Runa EP is available via Avantgarde Music now @ http://avantgardemusic.bigcartel.com/product/the-howling-void-runa-digipack-cd

https://www.facebook.com/TheHowlingVoid

RingMaster 30/10/2014

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Nethermost – Noetic

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Transporting the listener down into the depths of depressive yet intoxicatingly emotional and epic landscapes, Noetic is a strikingly compelling entrance from US metallers Nethermost. Released via Horror Pain Gore Death, the band’s debut album is like an inventive soul stealing nightmare where you feel you should maybe make a struggle to awaken from but really want to immerse deeper into its pestilential embrace. A thick fusion of melodic death and doom metal, the release simultaneously manages to be a bruising and sonically seductive devourer of the senses. It does not leap out as much as some similarly sculpted releases but definitely lingers for a just as rewarding success.

The successor to the Texas band’s first release, the four-track Alpha, their new album engrosses ears and imagination from start to finish. Admittedly passions ebbed and flowed at times across its nine imposing songs but never rested on less than enthused appetite for the erosive incitements on offer. Mixed and mastered by Marco Santini at Antigravity Studios in London, Noetic needs little time to involve imagination and emotions in its presence, the opening of Matrix Divine a tantalising coaxing of expressive guitar. That lure continues as the song expels a caustic energy and breath, the vocals of John Johnston raw and impassioned making an instant mark whilst the sinew driven beats of Edgar Pinto take a firm hand of the senses. The song is more a smouldering than a fire but with the craft of lead guitarist Cinthya Rocha and rhythm guitarist Waldo Rocha spinning a melodic web within a rugged nest of riffs it never releases its captivating grip.

The strong start moves onto Weald Realms, a similarly structured weave of hostile intensity aligned to persistent grooves and sonic temptation which swiftly draws willing submission with their unrelenting persuasion. The track is a transfixing encounter, the vocal buffeting lying easily with the acidic melodies that vein the almost toxic emprise at work. Thoughts of bands like Daylight Dies and Anathema offer themselves during song and album, but only as flavours in something emerging individual to Nethermost, as shown again with The Void Of Souls. Opening with a sultry groove which would not be out of place in any album from The Mission, the track twists and flirts with an exotic lilt to its melodies, which alone ignites ears, and a prowling intensity to its heart. It is a superb track, a fall through a cavernous yet spellbinding climate into an emotional examination.

The pair of Nous Alliance and Synergos keeps the impressive presence of the album high, if without quite matching their predecessors. The first is a heavier predatory offering but bound in enticing of sonic enterprise and slow searing grooves whilst the second takes the other route with a lighter melodic flaming within imposing shadows. Both though reveal more of the creative tenacity of the band and individuals, the guitars unafraid to make swift turns in their adventurous suasion whilst rhythms equally are able to fluidly switch their attack through the changing terrain of songs. It is only the vocal squalls of Johnston which show little want to expand but to be honest if he did tracks would relinquish their essential ferocity and potency.

If there is any issue to offer up against the album it is the familiarity between some of the melodic and sonic designs, Arcanum coming straight after Synergos and without attention the two merge together with little notice. It is not a major issue here, such the impressive nature of those tracks, but ahead there is hope for stronger distinction between songs. The muscular stroll of Sphere Caliginous ensures it does immediately leap out from the previous encounter, riffs and rhythms laying down a ravenous and intimidating scene for the guitars to colour with their ever provocative hues.

The short and outstanding instrument I Envision seduces ears and imagination next, its gentle stroll basking in the enterprising scenery and beauty of guitar strings and keys. Thoroughly mesmeric, the piece makes way for Order Of Mithra to bring the album to a fine end. Managing to be the most malevolent proposition on Noetic but holding a flaming melodic radiance, the track ensures ears and thoughts leave the album heavily drenched in the creative invention and immersive atmosphere which makes the band’s debut very easy to enthusiastically recommend. There is still plenty of potential within Nethermost which you feel is still to be unleashed and listening to the quality of Noetic that is an exciting thought for sure.

Noetic is available now via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions now @ http://netherdoom.bandcamp.com/album/noetic

https://www.facebook.com/nethermostband

RingMaster 25/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Doomster Reich – The League For Mental Distillation

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The League For Mental Distillation is a warts and all proposition which offers a compelling and unpredictable collision of seventies heavy metal with psychedelic and doom bred metal. The debut album from Polish metallers Doomster Reich, it is raw, passionate, and unafraid to show its flaws alongside the band’s dramatic enterprise. Equally it unveils an organic freedom to its invention, more than once suggesting that the Łódź quartet strapped themselves into their instruments, plugged in, and unleashed whatever was in their heart at the time rather than having a predetermined journey for a track. It is an encounter which ebbs and flows in its success it is fair to say, but one leaving ears and imagination riveted and happy to learn and hear more.

Doomster Reich was formed to the rear of 2011, with the foursome of guitarists Voytek and Markiz, drummer/vocalist Rasz, and bassist Radek settling down to write and record the songs making up The League For Mental Distillation the following year. Its recent release via The End Of Time Records gives the album a broader landscape to persuade, and whilst it may cause raised eyebrows at times, the album is a captivating and skilled blaze of heavy psychedelic doom which becomes more convincing with every listen.

Ears are wide awake and anticipation lit as soon as the opening strains of John Woe sets the album in potent motion. The guitars wind around the senses with a fiery and magnetic touch matched by the throaty tones of the bass and even heavier swipes of beats. It is a transfixing start teasing like a mix of Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard. The striking and also unpredictable vocals add another enthralling element to the mix, the tones and notes of Rasz at times wayward in delivery yet never harming the dramatic adventure around him, mostly adding to that theatre even in his less convincing vocal moments. The song itself continues to stalk and sway seductively before ears, guitars expelling flames of ingenuity and absorbing melodies as rhythms add rich shadows and intimidating weight to its proposal.

The following I Ate Some Desert Diamonds flirts with an expressive blues seeding in its introduction before stretching muscles for a lumbering gait, within which dramatic urges break free to ignite feistier passages of energy and vocal cddoomster_reichexpression. Also equipped with a thoroughly contagious web of hooks and acidic grooves, the track takes all the strong essences of the first to another engrossing level; strong vocals painting guitar sculpted walls of sonic intrigue against a heavy rhythmic canvas colourfully. It is a richly satisfying and evocative creative emprise swiftly matched by the maelstrom that is Comfort of Conscious Demise. Driven by an early thrash seeded charge, the track releases atmospheric smog of sonic oppression before opening up trails of urgent riffery and infectious grooving within the suffocating air. It is a glorious rampage, as savage as it is bewitching, and the best track on the album.

     Pornosopher’s Dream emerges under sultry skies coloured by sonic turbulence but it is a tempest restrained in its voracity and tempered by smouldering flames of coarse melodies and provocative sonic hues. With portentous spoken vocals and the bass pushing heavy shadows into the radiance, the track is as fascinating and gripping as the last with again thrash bred riffery aligning itself to the heavy metal ferocity hanging around the senses scorching designs of the guitars. Its lingering success is followed by the potent if less successful presence of I’ll Shoot You Down, a more sinew driven slab of sonic aggression. Vocals again vary in success but only add to the unique character of the song. The track proceeds to bine ears in excellent guitar play amidst strong rhythmic bait but does lack the spark and ingenuity of previous songs to certainly please but not make an imposing impression.

Closing track In Storms epitomises the album across its thirteen plus minutes. At times it leaves senses basking in scintillating craft and individual enterprise and at other times flirts too much with predictability and expectations feeding ideas, which stand out more because of the shining invention of other parts. Nevertheless despite it’s over long presence, another slight issue, the track is a rich end to a thoroughly enjoyable release. Certainly at times The League For Mental Distillation makes some wrong moves but it is easily compensated by the attention grabbing skills and inventive sounds within the release. It is not the most impressive release you will hear this year but an enjoyable one announcing Doomster Reich as a band more than worthy of close attention.

The League For Mental Distillation is available now via The End of Time Records.

https://www.facebook.com/doomsterreich

8/10

RingMaster 12/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cardinals Folly – Our Cult Continues!

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It is fair to say that Finnish doom metallers Cardinals Folly is a band you are going to take to or not. Certainly there is a middle ground too where intrigue keeps attention and thoughts embraced in interest and indecision over the band though listening to new album Our Cult Continues!, it seems to demand adoration or avoidance with little in between. Cardinals Folly is not a band to just soundtrack an hour of simple listening pleasure is soon obvious as the band’s second album challenges the senses.

Released via Shadow Kingdom Records, Our Cult Continues! is a dark trespass of ears and thoughts with a generally crawling pestilential persuasion which at times ignites the imagination as forcibly as it violates the senses. It can be a riveting intrusion with imposing heavy riffs and deeply permeating rapacious grooving but also a lingering threat which loses its potency through the length of songs, a seeming aversion to spread its creative wings, and the daunting challenge of the vocals where notes are often dishevelled and squeezed of flavour. As mentioned it is not going to be for all but it must also be said that it left a compulsion to investigate the release again and again and is definitely likely to lure the appetite of those with a passion for bands like Reverend Bizarre and Electric Wizard. For sure it needs time to make its persuasion a full argument, with still no guarantees of success, but if band and album clicks with wants it has the potency to make for a unique test and enjoyment.

Formed in 2004 as The Coven and called Cardinals Folly since 2007, the Helsinki based trio of vocalist/bassist Mikko Kääriäinen, guitarist Juho Kilpelä, and drummer Sebastian Lindberg soon made an impression with their first pair of EPs, 2008’s Heretic’s Hangover and Orthodox Faces the following year. Two years on the band signed with Shadow Kingdom and unleashed debut album Such Power is Dangerous!, again to strong responses which the new release is sure to emulate with those holding a taste for the band’s distinct takes on doom metal.

Opening with the evocative and cinematic Chant of Shadows, the album makes an imagination poking entrance. It is not a hugely dramatic start, but an introduction to the dark realms and sinister devilry of the band which holds enough a2356633421_2coaxing for fans and newcomers to take the plunge into the hellish depths of Our Cult Continues! As its satanic call drifts away the following Morbid Glory steps forward and soon presses ears with acidic grooves and hollow but pushy rhythms. There is an immediate shallowness to the production which takes time to acclimatise to but is not as big a leap to embrace as the vocal tones of Kääriäinen. With a voice which flirts with melodies whilst infusing a monotone lilt equipped with tonal alienation, the bassist croons and serenades throughout the track and album with varying success. It is another aspect to get used to and will of all the things about Cardinals Folly, probably be the biggest test for many, but to be honest it is also something to gradually warm to and embrace in the singers potent moments and hold reservations over in their less momentous turns. The song itself lurches and lumbers with ravenous intensity and labour intensive predation to seduce ears and rile the senses.

The Black Baroness makes a greater impression than its more than decent predecessor with a carnivorous throat to the bass and sonic enterprise from the guitar. There is a punk air to the acidic strokes of Kilpelä, riffs an abrasing antagonism and the meandering chords bleeding whispers of Spizzenergi and The Pack. With a healthier contagion to its bait, it crawls potently through body and mind before passing over to the oppressive rapacity of the title track. A thick web of riffs and blunted rhythms, the track is appealing smog of sound and intent, a sonic cloud veined with an engaging raw groove and a moment of bewitching clarity. Vocally too the song is persuasive, Kääriäinen better in an aural crowd than providing a driving lead in many ways.

The virulent surging of Sighisoaran comes next, the song a torrential abrasion held on a slight rein as it rampages and an even shorter lead in its slow consumptive twist of primal voracity. As most tracks it is a proposition which takes time to explore and come to terms with in many ways but ultimately provides an uncompromising assault enhanced by the great guttural snarl of the bass and a keen repetitious incitement. Like the majority of songs it is also border line on whether outstaying its welcome length wise, though when things begin to labour the band does throw in a timely twist to pull back any negativity a little.

The pair of Walvater Unveiled and The Lover´s Crypt smothers the listener in a sonic causticity and vocal starkness to again challenge and solidly persuade. The first is a lumbering expanse of venomous riffs and demanding rhythms which from an underwhelming opening evolves with scorched grooves and another potently gripping bass temptation to enthral. Its successor brings a more classic heavy metal breath in its melodic toxins and healthy doom swagger on its way to sculpting one of the bigger highlights of the album. The song also invites a richer invention and imagination from the band which in turns flirts with the listener to greater effect as it creates another reason to give Our Cult Continues! time before deciding its fate.

Last track Fallout Ritualist provides, despite its far too long a presence, a highly convincing conclusion to the album, its Sabbath-esque swagger of riffs and incendiary grooves along with the previous track crafting the best part of the album with ease.

Even after numerous visits Our Cult Continues! still leaves us undecided; its raw production defuses as much as it enhances and with a vagueness of imagination at times, the album seems to be an adventure of missed opportunities. Yet it also makes for a compelling proposition to keep considering. Cardinals Folly is one for the individual and to be honest the only way to know if they are for you is to allow them a chance to challenge and convince.

Our Cult Continues! is available via Shadow Kingdom Records now @ http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/our-cult-continues

https://www.facebook.com/cardinalsfolly

7/10

RingMaster 20/08/2014

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Ancient Altar – Self Titled EP

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There is a brutal tempest coming from Los Angeles and it is shaped in the rather tasty form of the self –titled EP from Ancient Altar. The four track debut from the band is a voracious beast of an encounter unleashing a fusion of corrosive doom and suffocating sludge causticity. The release preys upon and slowly smothers the senses in an inhospitable hunger and intensity but within that ruinous intent there is a rich vein of seductive bait which twists the psyche into an even more submissive victim. It is a heavily striking introduction to a band already gaining acclaim and a potent reputation at home, a release with a wealth of imposing potential to suggest Ancient Altar has a massive future.

With the band formed in the latter weeks of 2013, the quartet of vocalist/bassist Scott Carlson, vocalist/guitarist Barry Kavener, guitarist Jesse Boldt, and drummer Tom Oz recorded their first release with Etay Levy (Lana Dagales, Gallows of Sedition, …Of the Dead). Mixed by Gary Griffth (Morgion) and mastered by James Plotkin (O.L.D., Khanate, Jodis), the EP has emerged as a real predator of an encounter, one taking little time to intrigue ears as opener Tidal squirts electronic lures to awaken attention. A sonic embrace accompanies the entrance, guitars stirring up their venomous breath and rhythms roaming through a few sinew swung beats and rolling leads. It is a relatively restrained start, that is until the toxic growls and spite of Kavener and Carlson leave their respective throats and squall vindictively across the senses. It is a riveting entrance which increases its bait as the song begins to crawl eagerly, riffs and rhythms building a stalking proposition to which the vocals continue to sweat causticity. Magnetic grooves and melodic acidity brings colour and richer temptation to the canvas of hostility, their lures equipped with a swagger and enterprise to ignite the imagination further. It is a stunning first encounter with the band, the track continuing to roam almost salaciously around the senses with its wares as flirtatious as they are barbarous for an enthralling and powerfully gripping predation.

Things just get bigger and better with the exceptional Ek Balam. The track is almost nine minutes of sheer sonic and intrusive temptation, working on ears and passions from its opening seconds of evocatively enticing guitar. The slow aa_digimelodic stroking is as intriguing as it is coaxing, it’s hinting of things to come undefined but potently inviting. The darker tones of bass add another texture to the irresistible lure before guitars and rhythms descend with an abrasive punkish vivacity on ears and already greedy appetite. Riffs build a compelling and insatiably baiting web of repetition and seduction, a persistent and unrelenting instinctive tempting which bewitches and engrosses with lean but intensely expressively sonic and melodic ingenuity. Mid-way in the mystique of the track takes on an even heavier and more intimidating purpose, laying down a landscape for the painfully raw, tonsil scarring vocal roars to spill their animosity over. It only adds to the drama and addictive nature of the track though, riffs and barbed grooves continuing to bind and infest the psyche and emotions whilst rhythms jab and punch with formidable intent to punctuate every twist and lurch of the outstanding track.

Its major triumph, alone a reason to recommend and drool over the band, does leave the final two tracks struggling to impress as dramatically. Feed comes first and immediately finds a fiery groove to wrap around ears within a great agitated web of rhythms. It makes for a strong start with rich essences of seventies psychedelic metal and citric stoner-esque hues but with the vocals more a loose scowl than a commanding presence and the song itself a constantly shifting stomp of admittedly pleasing endeavour, the track feels more like a jam than a acutely honed incitement. Nevertheless it still has emotions and ears greedily satisfied before making way for closer Pulled Out. Another long proposition, the track is a simmering journey with a sonic sultriness to its atmosphere to which the vocals scrape away mercilessly. Again as raw as it is brutal, the song is a thoroughly absorbing and very often punishing experience, one which equally spellbinds and ferociously intimidates, though it misses reaching the same levels of the scintillating first pair of songs on the EP.

Ancient Altar is a prospect very easy to get excited about and expect big things from on the evidence of their debut alone. The pressure is on the band but you just do not feel they will disappoint.

The Ancient Altar EP is available now via Midnite Collective digitally @ http://midniteclv.bandcamp.com/album/ancient-altar and on extremely Ltd Ed cassette @ http://midniteclv.storenvy.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ancientaltar

8.5/10

RingMaster 22/07/2014

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